Frequently Asked Questions

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What is The Alternative®?

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THE ALTERNATIVE® is a blunt force impact device.  It was designed to fill the void in lethal situations, which until now could only be addressed with a firearm.

How does it work?

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When mounted to an officer’s firearm and deployed, the projectile at the end of the firearm acts like a bullet capture device. The bullet and projectile instantly become one unit and the kinetic energy of the bullet is simultaneously transferred to the projectile which propels the projectile towards the target.

Does it slow the bullet down?

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It does. The projectile with the embedded bullet slows the speed of the munition to approximately 275 feet per second, which is roughly 20% velocity of a normally fired bullet, and this allows the projectile to impact the threat with less-lethal force that is expected to incapacitate an individual but pose very little risk of death or critical injury.

When would a law enforcement officer use this device?

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When an officer encounters a situation or receives a radio call where a potential suspect does not have a gun but perhaps another type of dangerous weapon that presents a lethal threat, THE ALTERNATIVE® may be an applicable tool. Once on the scene of the situation, the officer should first determine that the suspect does NOT, in fact, have a firearm, and then the officer should determine if department guidelines would require their service weapon to be drawn in that encounter, based on the actions of the suspect. If so, and the suspect remains non-compliant to the officer's commands, the officer may then assess if there is appropriate time and distance, as determined by department guidelines and training, and choose to deploy THE ALTERNATIVE® to resolve the situation and safely affect an arrest.

Should the Alternative® be used for crowd control purposes?

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We absolutely do not recommend deploying THE ALTERNATIVE® for crowd control purposes. Based on our training, the Alternative is only to be utilized as a last resort, less-lethal option, where a non-compliant subject has a weapon other than a gun and is presenting a lethal threat.

What type of firearm does the Alternative® work with?

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The most common service weapon used in police departments across the country is the Glock (17/19) with 9mm ammunition, so this is the primary firearm that THE ALTERNATIVE® has been developed for. However, the docking device can be manufactured for most other firearms if warranted by sufficient demand, and we have a separate projectile that can be used with 40 cal ammunition, as well.

What is the Alternative® made of?

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THE ALTERNATIVE® is made of a specialized alloy that captures the bullet through friction, heat, and immense pressure. The cavity inside is designed to capture a live round fired from a firearm using manufacturer’s approved factory ammunition.

Where does the officer keep the Alternative®?

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The unit is kept in a small and lightweight holster that attaches to an officer’s duty belt, vest, or thigh holster. An officer can quickly unsnap the holster, remove THE ALTERNATIVE® and mount it on their firearm within seconds, while staying focused on the actions of the suspect.

What happens to the firearm when the officer fires the Alternative® at the suspect?

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The docking unit will automatically eject from the firearm, returning it to its normal function as it simultaneously cycles in a new round for follow up shots if necessary.

What happens to the suspect when he is hit by the Alternative’s projectile?

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Comprehensive ballistics tests were conducted by NTS, of which a full report is available upon request. In those tests, the Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) was used to determine the general level of injury that a suspect would sustain once impacted by the projectile. AIS Levels range from AIS 0 (no injury) to AIS 3 (serious injury) and AIS 6 (maximum, untreatable injury). THE ALTERNATIVE® registered average AIS Levels of 2.2 for 50th percentile males and 2.6 for 50th percentile females. These levels are expected to incapacitate an individual but pose very little risk of death or critical injury, as determined by the independent testing series.

How accurate is the Alternative®?

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THE ALTERNATIVE® was tested by NTS following the ASTM E3276/3276M-1 "Standard Test Method for Assessing Impact Energy & Precision of Direct-fire, Single-projectile Less Lethal Impact Rounds Used by Public Safety Officers," and the device displayed extreme accuracy with a 90% CEP of 3.4 inches at 21 ft. and 4.6 inches at 32 ft. A copy of the full test report is available upon request.

What is the suggested distance for its use?

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For officer safety, we recommend a minimum distance of 21 ft., but the device can be used with exceptional accuracy up to 40 ft.

What happens if the officer misses the target/suspect?

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The officer’s firearm will have returned to its full operating capability once THE ALTERNATIVE® is deployed, and the weapon is ready for follow-up, lethal force shots if the threat persists, and if those shots are mandated by the department's use of force policies and procedures.

Will the Alternative® penetrate the suspect like a bullet?

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THE ALTERNATIVE® was independently tested by NTS to assess the risk of penetration. All test shots fired into the ballistics gelatin block resulted in laceration ONLY with NO penetration. The average energy density (E/A value) registered from the test shots was 19.19 J/cm2, which is well below the lowest 50% risk of penetration with an E/A value of 23.99 J/cm2 at the anterior rib.

Can you reuse it once it has been fired?

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The unit is a single-fire device and can not be reused once it's been fired.

Can you reuse it if it was never fired?

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Yes, as easily as it goes on the firearm it can be removed and returned to its holster.

Why is the docking device orange in color?

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So that any other officer arriving at the scene will immediately know that the officer, who has their weapon drawn, has mounted THE ALTERNATIVE® on his firearm. Additionally, an officer (per our training course), if time allows, can shout “Less-Lethal” letting any other officers know that he is deploying a less-lethal device, so they do not follow up with additional fire, unless necessary.

Is there a way to identify the projectile when an officer fires the Alternative®?

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Yes, each individual projectile has its own serial number. When it has been given to an officer, the department should/must record the serial number assigned to that officer.

What is the shelf-life of the Alternative®? 

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Easily 7 - 10 years. The plastic or the projectile will not weaken overtime.

When mounting the Alternative® on an officer’s firearm, does it block or affect the officer’s sight line?

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The projectile is specifically designed and shaped at the top to not interfere in any way with the officer’s line of sight when aiming their firearm at a suspect.

Is there special training required?

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Yes, we have a training program to train officers and another to train a “trainer” who in turn can train the officers. There are two critical training items; learning to safely remove THE ALTERNATIVE® from the holster and mounting it on the gun and then fully understanding that THE ALTERNATIVE® does not impact or affect the feel of the weapon when it is fired. Additionally, it is important that an officer in training fires the Alternative® to have confidence in its accuracy.

How many rounds should an officer fire in training?

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Alternative Ballistics Training Program recommends (10) shots for an officer during training, which includes (5) practice shots and (5) qualification shots for certification.

Does an officer need to be tested or retrained annually?

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Once an officer is certified to carry THE ALTERNATIVE®, it is our company recommendation that each officer should review the training protocols and fire training rounds at the department's range every six months, or at least once annually, of which the frequency and number of rounds will ultimately be determined by the department. Each projectile will have an engraved serial number on it and should be recorded for each officer's training rounds and field units and assigned accordingly.

Many departments train their officers to fire a minimum of two shots when firing their weapon. How can we train our officers to use just one when using The Alternative®?

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This is an important question and one we are asked all the time. The answer is in the training. When an officer elects to un-holster THE ALTERNATIVE® and mount it on their weapon, they are making a conscious decision to try to use a less-lethal option in the situation they are facing or engaged in at that moment. We believe that this conscious decision, combined with our training program, are sufficient in overriding previous training protocols that require multiple 'live' rounds when faced with a lethal situation. Training is the key to its safe use.

Why not simply use a Taser, Stun Gun, Bean Bag, or any of the other less-lethal devices on the market?

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THE ALTERNATIVE® was designed as a specialized device for lethal situations, where a weapon other than a gun is present. It is a tool for those types of lethal encounters, where department guidelines require an officer to draw their service weapon, and upon the assessment of factors, such as action of the suspect, time, and distance, the officer may determine that lethal force is justified but not necessarily warranted. With that said, we believe that all less-lethal devices are designed to assist officers in the use of 'appropriate' force depending on the situation, guided by department policy. However, officers have had no de-escalation tool once their service weapon has been drawn. The result, until now, has generally been either willful compliance by the suspect or shots fired by the officer. This is specifically why THE ALTERNATIVE® was developed, to be an expedient tool for resolving lethal threats with less-lethal force, and doing so using a service weapon as the deployment platform, allowing the officer to maintain control of the conflict, and being effective at longer ranges to optimize officer safety.

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